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Police chief sworn in after tough week for department

(June 5, 2013) Following a difficult weekend for the Ocean City Police Department, a weekend that included the deaths of two officers in a plane crash, as well as the first street shooting the resort has seen in recent memory, the town welcomed new Chief of Police Ross Buzzuro during an emotional council meeting Monday.

The session was a clearly cathartic experience for the OCPD, with dozens of officers lining the council chambers both to remember their comrades and to welcome Buzzuro to the department.

Buzzuro said he had been impressed with the department’s work and resilience during the past several days he had been in the resort, even though he was not technically in charge until his swearing-in Monday night.

“Over the last couple days I’ve been with this department, they’ve welcomed me with open arms,” Buzzuro said. “The camaraderie here is second-to-none, and I’m very proud to be with this organization.”

Mayor Rick Meehan held a moment of silence before administering the oath of office to Buzzuro. OCPD officers Joshua Adickes and Thomas Geoghegan died Sunday after Geoghegan’s two-seater plane crashed into the ocean off 130th Street.

In welcoming Buzzuro, Meehan also thanked the OCPD’s three captains – Kevin Kirstein, Michael Colbert, and Gregory Guiton – for having shared the duties of chief since the departure of former OCPD Chief Bernadette DiPino in January.

“They definitely rose to the occasion,” Meehan said. “We saw a command staff that truly worked together … I think that clearly has set the tone for the future of Ocean City and for Mr. Buzzuro’s leadership.”

Buzzuro began his career in law enforcement in 1985 as a rookie with the Baltimore City Police Department, working his way through the ranks until he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 2007. He has served as a commander in Baltimore City’s Special Enforcement Section, Patrol Division, Criminal Investigation Division and Internal Investigations Division.

Buzzuro was named in February as the new head of Baltimore’s police academy following an incident in which a training officer accidentally shot a recruit in the head by mistakenly using a live weapon instead of a practice pistol. The incident revealed what were alleged to be massive oversights and a lack of regulation in the department’s training methods

Following the removal of the academy’s then-director, the BCPD appointed a new head for the school – but that commander left for another department after only a few days, and Buzzuro was named as his successor, with city leaders saying he would work to reform the management and procedural discipline of the academy.

DiPino was selected in October of last year as the next head of the Sarasota, Fla. police department. She had been with the OCPD for 25 years after beginning her career in Baltimore as well.

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